Home Move FAQ and Jargon Buster

Here you will find frequently asked questions and explanations of some of the jargon and legal language associated with the home moving process.

Buying a home can feel overwhelming. Brevis makes the process clear and guides you every step of the way.

  1. Work out how much you can afford and how much you will need for a deposit.
  2. Apply for a mortgage in principal from your chosen lender, which confirms they are willing to lend you an agreed amount for a property..
  3. Start to view properties in person and get to know the best areas for you to live.
  4. Find ‘the one’ and make an offer to the estate agent. Mentioning you’re a first time buyer if you are one could be an advantage.
  5. Offer accepted! Apply for a mortgage from your lender and find a solicitor or conveyancer to help you with the legal process.
  6. Get a survey. Most surveyors provide 3 levels of survey – a condition report, a HomeBuyers report and a building survey. Choose the right one for you.
  7. Your conveyancer will arrange searches, which can include local authority, environmental and water searches, to help avoid any potential issues.
  8. Swap your contracts with the home seller (exchange), transfer money and collect your keys (complete) – Congratulations! You’ve bought your new home!

We break down the stages of the process into milestones so our clients can keep track. Within each milestone there are tasks for either you to complete or for Brevis to complete. We can also be actively working on more than milestone at a time as we progress through.

Home buy milestones

It is not uncommon for property transactions to take just a few months, but delays can occur. We believe in transparency, meaning that our account managers will keep you informed throughout your house selling process.

  1. Get a rough idea of how much your property is worth. Don’t forget when calculating your costs to check with your lender if there are any fees for early repayment costs payable on your existing mortgage. You may also need to confirm if it can be moved to your new home.
  2. Choose an estate agent to sell your property and agree on fees.
  3. Ensure you have standardised documents for your property, including an energy performance certificate (EPC).
  4. Decide on how much to sell your property for.
  5. Start getting your home ready for sale. The more ‘staged’ it looks, the more likely you are to sell.
  6. Get a conveyancer to handle the legal side of selling your property. It’s best to decide on the conveyancing firm before you agree on the sale – you just can’t formally work with them until an offer is agreed.
  7. Fill out property questionnaires provided by your conveyancer. This will help ensure everything is clear to both parties during the sale.
  8. Your conveyancers will now work on your behalf to get everything ready for exchanging contracts with your buyers. The next and final stage is then completion – when you’ve fully sold your property and can hand over the keys!

We break down the stages of the process into milestones so our clients can keep track. Within each milestone there are tasks for either you to complete or for Brevis to complete. We can also be actively working on more than milestone at a time as we progress through.

Home sale milestones

The conveyancing process usually starts when you’ve made an offer on a house when buying, or accepted an offer on your home when selling. But you can actually choose your conveyancer before this. This helps ensure the initial paperwork is underway as soon as possible, and means you can hit the ground running when offers are accepted. Typically, conveyancing takes 12-16 weeks, but there can be delays. Our aim is to speed the process up wherever we can, so you can get moving quickly. If, for any reason, issues do arise during your sale or purchase, we’ll keep you updated every step of the way, so you stay informed and we work to make your move as stress-free possible.

A Help to Buy ISA is a Government backed scheme aimed at boosting your savings toward buying your first home. If you put money into a Help to Buy ISA the Government will, when you use those savings to buy a home, top up your savings by adding a 25% bonus. The maximum government bonus you can receive is £3,000. The maximum amount you can save into the account is £200 each month.

If you do not already have a Help to Buy ISA account, then it is too late to open one as the scheme was closed to new accounts at midnight on 30 November 2019. If you have already opened a Help to Buy ISA, you will be able to continue saving into your account until November 2029.

The Government bonus is not automatically added to your Help To Buy ISA account. It is only paid when you use the savings to buy a qualifying home and is claimed during the conveyancing process. The solicitor acting for you will claim the bonus between exchange of contracts and completion of the purchase. The process takes time and will require action to be taken by you. It is important, therefore, that you tell your solicitor about your Help to Buy ISA as soon as the conveyancing process starts. If you do not and the strict deadlines imposed by the scheme are not met, you may lose the bonus.

The Help to Buy scheme offers a loan where the government lends first-time buyers money to buy a newbuild home. In return for the loan the Government will take a mortgage over your home. This mortgage will be based on the percentage of the purchase price you borrow from the Government. When you sell your home, you must repay the same percentage of the sale price as the initial equity loan. This means that if you take out an equity loan for 20% of the purchase price then you must repay 20% of the price at which you sell. If the value of your property has increased, the amount you have to pay back will likely be more than you originally borrowed.

There are certain criteria to be met in order to qualify to use the scheme.

To qualify for the Government Help To Buy scheme you must meet the following criteria:

  • The purchase price must not exceed the maximum set for the area. These vary across the country, ranging from £186,100 to £600,000
  • You must be a first-time buyer
  • You must live in the property
  • The maximum you can borrow is 20% of the purchase price (or 40% in London)
  • You must be purchasing a new build property
  • You must pay a minimum deposit of 5% from your own money
  • You must take out a mortgage

Please note that all information provided in this FAQ is for general reference only. It should not be used as a sole or definitive source, nor is it intended to be used for decision making in place of appropriate advice from a qualified legal professional. As such the information is provided as-is and Brevis cannot accept any responsibility or liability for any loss or damage resulting from any errors or ommission in, or any reliance on, information contained in this guide.